How To Quit a Job in France in a Right Way

How To Quit a Job in France in a Right Way titlecard

Are you thinking of quitting your job in France? Do you want to know how to do it in the right way, without burning bridges or losing your rights? If so, you might be wondering what legal and practical steps to follow when you want to end your employment contract in France.

Here are the steps on how to quit a job in France:

  • Check Your Employment Contract or Collective Agreement
  • Write Resignation Letter
  • Submit Mutual Agreement (CDI)
  • Terminating a Fixed-term contract (CDD)
  • Notify your Employer of your Resignation
  • Check The Notice Period
  • Do The Exit interview
  • Gather the Final Paycheck and Benefits

In this blog post, we will share some of the most important things you need to know before quitting your job in France. We’ll clarify fixed-term vs. permanent contracts, notice periods, potential unemployment benefits, and applicable collective agreements.


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We will also give you some tips on how to write a resignation letter. So, if you are ready to quit your job in France, read on and discover how you can do it professionally and respectfully.

Related article: Most Common Jobs in France in 2023

Step-by-Step Process on How to Terminate Employment in France

Person signing a contract

To quit a job in France in the right way, follow these steps:

1. Check Your Employment Contract or Collective Agreement

Checking your employment contract is essential to understand the terms and conditions of your employment. It enables the identification of whether you hold a permanent contract (Contrat à Durée Indéterminée, CDI) or a fixed-term contract (Contrat à Durée Déterminée, CDD).

The termination process, including the notice period and eligibility for unemployment benefits, varies based on this distinction. Complying with any collective agreements and adhering to the appropriate resignation letter format aligns with the specifics outlined in the employment contract.

Also read Top In-Demand Jobs in France in 2023

Permanent Contracts (Contrat à Durée Indéterminée, CDI):

  • An “employment contract” of indefinite duration provides a long-term working relationship between the employee and the employer.
  • Typically, an employee must adhere to a “notice period” when resigning, as specified in the employment contract. The notice period allows both parties to plan for the transition and make necessary arrangements.

Fixed-Term Contracts (Contrat à Durée Déterminée, CDD):

  • A “fixed-term employment contract” with a predetermined end date or specific task completion.
  • Termination of a fixed-term contract is usually based on the agreed-upon end date; typically, a notice period may not be required. However, specific provisions in the employment contract or the collective agreement might outline the termination process.

2. Write a Resignation letter

A resignation letter, or “lettre de démission” in French, is a formal document where you inform your employer of your intent to resign and specify your contract termination date.

This letter is crucial as it serves as a record of your decision and adherence to labor laws. It outlines compliance with the notice period, aspects regarding collective agreements, and the acknowledgment of contractual obligations.

Additionally, sending it as a ‘lettre recommandée avec accusé de réception’ provides evidence of communication. This ensures a transparent and documented termination process, impacting unemployment insurance, paid leave, severance pay, and voluntary termination.

3. Submit Mutual Agreement (CDI)

A mutual agreement, known as “accord mutuel” in French, refers to a consensual termination of a permanent contract (Contrat à Durée Indéterminée, CDI) between an employee and their employer. It entails both parties agreeing to end the employment relationship under specified terms and conditions.

The mutual agreement is a form of termination beneficial for maintaining a positive relationship and departing amicably. It allows for negotiation on aspects like notice periods, severance packages, or terms aligning with labor laws and collective agreements. Mutual agreement provides a flexible and collaborative approach to ending a permanent employment contract.

4. Terminating a Fixed-term contract (CDD)

Terminating a fixed-term contract (Contrat à Durée Déterminée, CDD) in France follows specific guidelines. As per labor law, you can terminate a CDD only under the circumstances outlined in the French Labor Code, such as securing a permanent job offer. It requires mutual consent and usually excludes a probation period.

Providing proof of the permanent job offer is essential. If termination aligns with legal conditions, a registered letter is typically used to notify the employer. Severance pay may be applicable depending on the situation, considering collective bargaining agreements and the involvement of the social and economic committee.

5. Notify your Employer of your Resignation

Notifying your employer of your resignation in France is crucial. For fixed-term contracts, adherence to conditions specified in the French Labor Code, like securing a permanent job offer, is essential for termination. Providing proof of the job offer is required.

The employer must be informed formally following the termination agreement, often through a registered letter. Complying is vital to avoid hefty fines and uphold employment terms. A summary statement and work certificate aid in the process, supporting other employment opportunities.

Additionally, considering economic grounds and involving the economic committee ensures fairness to the employer and other employees.

Also read: Guide To Getting a Job in France Without Speaking French

6. Check The Notice Period

The notice period varies but is often stipulated in your employment contract. It designates the specific duration an employee or employer must provide notice before terminating the employment. Typically lasting one to three months, it varies based on position and length of service.

Adhering to the notice period is crucial for a smooth transition in employment changes. The employee respects this period to ensure a fair exit, allowing the employer time to find a replacement. Conversely, the employer must abide by this period when terminating an employee, providing them with ample time to prepare for the contract termination.

According to, the average notice periods for employees with different tenure durations are as follows:

  • Less than six months tenure: no legal minimum notice period.
  • 6 months to 2 years’ tenure: 1 month.
  • More than two years’ tenure: 2 months.

7. Do The Exit interview

An exit interview, a common practice in France, is a structured conversation between an employee leaving a job and their employer. The purpose is to understand the reasons for departure and gather constructive feedback about the employment experience.

Employers may utilize this insight to improve working conditions, management, practices or address organisational concerns. It’s essential to maintain professionalism and provide constructive input during this discussion.

Exit interviews align with collective agreements, promoting respectful conclusions, which is especially beneficial for foreign workers or those in trial periods. The employer receives valuable insights to enhance their workplace dynamics.

Related article How To Move To France Without a Job in 2023

8. Gather the Final Paycheck and Benefits

After resigning in France, employees should ensure receipt of their final paycheck, including any unpaid wages and outstanding benefits per their employment terms and written contract. If applicable, they should collect the necessary paperwork for unemployment benefits, considering the notice period and giving notice accordingly.

Severance packages or unemployment allowances might be provided depending on the circumstances, such as termination due to economic reasons. Additionally, individuals on a residence permit or in civic service should verify if there are specific provisions or implications regarding their status in relation to the termination. Gathering these elements ensures a smooth transition post-resignation.

Also read: What Is A Good Salary in France?

How to Write a Resignation Letter?

Person writing a resignation letter

Writing a resignation letter involves several steps to ensure a smooth, professional transition. Here’s a step-by-step guide using the provided phrases:

1. Introduction and Address

Begin the resignation letter with a formal address, typically directed to your immediate supervisor or the HR department. Express gratitude for the opportunity to work for the company.

2. State Your Decision

Clearly state your decision to resign from your position. Mention that this decision has been made based on mutual consent and in compliance with the collective agreement applicable to your situation.

3. Resignation Details

Include details such as your current position, the date of your resignation, and the notice period. Emphasize that the notice period depends on the terms outlined in the collective agreement.

4. Express Gratitude

Express gratitude for your experiences and opportunities while working at the company. Highlight positive aspects of your time there.

5. Assurance of Transition:

Assure the company that you will ensure a smooth transition by completing any pending tasks and finding a suitable replacement if possible.

6. Discussion of Benefits and Paperwork

Mention the need to discuss finalizing your paycheck, any outstanding benefits, and necessary paperwork for unemployment benefits in line with the collective agreement.

7. Discuss Vocational Retraining and Unemployment Benefits

If applicable, discuss your plans for vocational retraining and how it aligns with your future goals. Mention your intention to apply for unemployment benefits and the necessary documentation.

8. Address Immigration or Residence Permits

If relevant, address any concerns about your residence permit or immigration status, especially if you are moving to a new country for a new job.

9. Express Eagerness for New Opportunity

Express your excitement and eagerness to begin your new job with your new employer. Show appreciation for the understanding and support from your current company.

10. Closing and Signature

Conclude the letter positively, reiterating your gratitude for the opportunity to work for the company. Sign the letter with your full name and job title.

Remember to tailor the letter to your situation and maintain a professional and respectful tone.

Related article: The UK vs France: Which Country Is Better for Living?

How to Write a Resignation Letter in France 

Person handing over their resignation letter

While many French companies do not require the submission of a resignation letter, it is advisable to compose one as it demonstrates professionalism and courtesy. Furthermore, this registered letter is essential for your employer, safeguarding your interests in final severance pay matters.

Guidelines to Follow When Writing a Resignation Letter

  • Use the appropriate format.
  • Begin the letter with a formal salutation.
  • State your reasons for resigning.
  • Provide a notice period and offer assistance for the transition of work.
  • Express your gratitude.
  • Closing remarks.
  • Ensure that the employer receives your resignation letter.

Final Thoughts on How to Quit a Job in France

In conclusion, quitting a job in France can be a challenging but rewarding decision. You must follow the legal and practical steps to end your employment contract correctly without compromising your rights or reputation. Review your contract, draft a resignation letter, notify your employer, follow the notice period, attend the exit interview, and collect dues.

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